I am a Diabetic. So, it is time to change! What though? The doctors say I need to change, but why should I? I like my life the way it is! Any of this strikes a cord?
Everyone handles change differently. Some jump in feet first while some just freeze and there are people who take it one step at a time. Deciding which choice to make around a new life style and what it will look like is tough to think about. Do I jump in, do nothing or take it slowly? Everything comes back to change, but what are the needed changes to achieve the preferred lifestyle for someone living with diabetes.
Life After Diagnosing
It is just too much! Isn’t it? That’s how it felt to me! I remember! I feel fortunate to have gotten diabetes as a child. If I had gotten it when I was older, I would imagine it would be harder to change my lifestyle after living one way for so long.
Excuse me sir, would you like a salad or the fried chicken? If you asked me many years ago, I would have said the fried chicken, of course. I was fearful that if I stopped eating what I liked, I wouldn’t get to enjoy life. That was my fear anyway.
False Evidence Appearing Real
You should be afraid of a lion or getting burned by fire. Unhealthy fear can be summed up in the acronym fear – False Evidence Appearing Real. For example, being afraid, you will never find the right person after only 1 date is False Evidence Appearing Real.
When fear is irrational, it causes anxiety, and similar to fear, anxiety is good in proper moderation. Too little, and you will have no motivation. On the other hand if you have too much, you won’t function properly or think clearly.
In life, some fear and anxiety is good. It is important to have some fear and anxiety around the unknown. It helps people move cautiously and safely during periods of change. For some, the deep end (an 180 lifestyle change like perfect diet, extreme weight loss and exercise daily) is scary.
For some, it’s not even a thought. If you tend to be a person who changes without thinking about consequence, it is important to slow down to test the water first. You don’t have to do it all at once. Try making several small changes.
Instead of running five miles a day, start with some light exercise like walking. Please consult your doctor prior to starting a new exercise regimen. You don’t have to start a fad diet upon being diagnosed with diabetes, consult a certified diabetes educator and make small changes to your existing diet. You could add some veggies or create smaller portions of what you like.
Yet, others are afraid of the whole picture (Healthy diet, exercise and weight loss). Some think that they need to lose all their extra weight, change to a healthy diet and exercise 3-5 times weekly right after diagnosis. Not true.
Start Slow And Simple
- Make little changes to your diet. (Reduce portion size or eat a salad before dinner)
- Increase activity! (Go for a 20-30 minute walk after dinner, use the stairs instead of the elevator or go to the movies instead of watching from your couch)
- Set reasonable goals. (Weight loss of 1 pound per week through the activities above)
- Look at one behavior change at a time. (If you look at all the needed changes for a diabetes preferred life style at once you will overwhelm yourself.)
- If you are struggling with change or other emotional issues, seek a Mental Health Professional or Certified Diabetes Educator.
- Join a smoking cessation group.
- Ask for help.
- Surround yourself with supportive friends.
Remember you don’t have to do it all at once. Some activities may not be safe depending on your physical or emotional condition. Please consult your doctor or a certified diabetes educator prior to changing your daily regimen.
Most importantly, if your blood sugar goes below 70 mg/dL, don’t spend time worrying about what caused it, take fast action to immediately bring glucose back in range.